LEE ADMITS KEANE INTEREST
By Jamie Dixon
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Keane left Wolves to join Coventry City for £6 million in August 1999, before making his £13 million move to Inter this summer, and Lee had hoped that the Republic of Ireland international could answer his call for a new striker at the club.
However, after making an initial approach to the Italian club about 20-year-old Keane, Lee has confirmed that the club are unwilling to let the player return to Britain.
"Robbie Keane won't be going out on loan to anyone," explained Lee. "I know because we asked about him a week ago.
"We got as far as speaking to Robbie's agent, as the chance of taking him on loan would have interested us, but we could not take it any further and let me assure you, he's not on peanuts."
Inter have insisted that Keane still has a big part to play at the club, and that they will only loan the player out to another Italian club, after reports linking him with Leeds, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Manchester City.
"We have no intention of sending Robbie Keane back to England," said Inter technical director Gabrielle Oriali. "He is only 20 and he has great potential.
"It is likely we will send him out on loan in the near future, but only to an Italian club.
"It is out of the question he will go back to the Premiership. Robbie is desperate to prove he is capable of making it big in Serie A.
"He believes that he is still ahead of schedule with Inter, in spite of being left out of the side for the last few games."
Meanwhile, Lee has also admitted that he failed in a bid to bring West Ham-bound defender Rigobert Song to the club from Liverpool, as his frustration in the transfer market continues to mount.